My Granny

I know I said I’d finish the how we met story, and I will, but not today.

My great grandmother passed away a little over a year ago. I don’t even know exactly how old she was, though I knew last year, she was closer to 100 than 90 is all I can say with absolute certainty, and suddenly I miss her so much.

It was when I was knitting the other night, somehow I just started remembering her, her hands, the way they worked with a crochet hook my whole life, the way they got in the last few years when she couldn’t use them anymore, But what I miss, and need from her more than anything else is her joy. She always had it pressing in against whatever sadness or disappointment she lived through, she always returned to joy, to an indomitable love for life, whatever it looked like. She lived through so much, and she always loved, she found a way to laugh about it, she was never down long.

I feel as though I didn’t say goodbye. I was there at the funeral; I gave one of the tributes. I didn’t see her. We were almost late arriving because my dad was half an hour late picking up the kids and I at the airport. He rushed me upstairs for the family gathering, and they closed the casket before the service started. I never saw her face, and right now that really hurts. In spite of everything, I never really said goodbye.

I spend so much of my life afraid, and sad, and depressed. I feel every injustice, I weep for things that do not change, I wonder often what the point is when we are so frail, and there is so much evil that can crush everything we love without a moments notice. My granny could somehow always point to the good, to the lovely. I could always believe when she was around that there was more beauty than ugliness, that life really does triumph over death in a million ways each and everyday, and that all the pain of being alive is worth it. I can’t do that for myself, I tried to learn from her how she did it; I still can’t. Maybe I just haven’t lived long enough yet.

I miss her silly songs, that she sang to me when I was little, and then to my babies. This baby will not get to meet her, and I weep for that loss as well.

I miss her stories, the way she would laugh when she told me about losing everything and starting over, the way she told me almost every single visit after grandpa passed away the story of how she and he met, how she must have clung with such ferocity to the happiness that was there to find.

I miss her quoting poetry, and songs, her favorite was, “Yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s a mystery, today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.”

I miss her laugh, and her smile, her sense of humor, her wisdom. I wonder if I will ever find the peace and contentment that she seemed to have. I wonder if I will ever stop wishing I could see her again, one last time.


How We Met

I’ve been whining quite a bit recently, though I prefer to refer to it as processing and a healthy outlet, you can call it what you want, just don’t tell me unless you think I’ll like it. Any way, I thought I’d like to write about something really good that happened to me once, and remind myself that it is good in the process.

One May long weekend I found myself at this big/giant youth conference in Kelowna, BC. I wasn’t exactly a youth anymore, I think I was 20, had a couple of years of post secondary under my belt, and had driven a bunch of kids out, and a few friends my own age for this event. At the very last day, during the very last meeting, this guy named Trey, who was a California surfer dude, but also the organizer of the event, got up on stage and announced that he was thinking about trying something, an experiment of sorts, he wasn’t sure what it would look like, but here was the basic idea, and anyone who was interested should talk to him afterward. In my life to that point I had made very few actual decisions.

I went into my major at University, completely against the other areas I had been toying with exploring, simply because a high school guidance counselor who didn’t know me at all, looked at my transcripts, noticed that I took a lot of music classes, had very high marks and why didn’t I major in that? I had gone in considering the fields of literature, history, and archeology. I also had the highest possible score on the world lit. exams, and composition for IB, and more than decent in history, science, math, etc. Good grief I was an honors student, and somehow I ended up choosing a music major in one half hour. I definitely don’t consider that a decision I made. The truth is, I didn’t really know what I wanted, so I was happy to receive a suggestion and went with it. I auditioned, got in, got scholarships, and something that I had been considering quitting because I was getting bored with it became my entire focus, and I spent a cool 20 grand on getting better at it before I realized that although I enjoyed it, I would never love it enough to become very successful. You have to be very focused and dedicated to become a professional musician. I had the talent, but I lacked the drive, I kept thinking that there was something much more important than singing opera that I was missing. Needless to say, I didn’t finish that degree.

I tell that story to illustrate that I consider making a decision something quite different from just going with the flow and allowing life to happen to me. When I heard Trey make his announcement, something deep inside me responded. I wanted to do that; I was going to do that. I knew with absolute certainty that that was something I WANTED to do. I didn’t stop to think about whether it was possible, what it would mean, where it would take me, I only knew that my heart had chosen this as I listened, and I went to talk to him.

What followed was an amazing year with 5 other incredible women, living in San Diego, feeding homeless people, turning our hand to whatever need we saw and growing together into this amazing community that I had never experienced before, and haven’t since. I grew up that year, finally, in a lot of ways that I needed to. I was challenged, stretched, fell apart, and put the pieces back together in the love and support that surrounded me. I also met my husband.

We both marvel at the timing of our meeting. He says if he had met me two weeks sooner he may not have even noticed, he was too busy solidifying as a person himself. We ran into each other about a week after he had felt an internal shift where he felt as though he finally knew who he was, what he wanted, and where he was going. I was finally whole enough to not be scared off by the thought of being vulnerable with someone, and I had stopped trying to control the heck out of my life and was shedding my fear of the unknown. (I know, I was a control freak, but I couldn’t make decisions. If it was logical it wouldn’t be considered a hang-up right?)

We met in Mexico. Actually we first laid eyes on each other in a parking lot as we prepared to cross the border but we don’t count that. He thought I said my name was Tureen and thought that my parents must be nuts for naming me after a soup dish. I didn’t notice him at all. In fact he is the one who reminded me of that meeting, after which I could recall vaguely a guy standing next to a white pick-up truck as we went around the circle introducing ourselves and getting our stories straight while the drivers bought insurance. We were with a combined group of churches and were taking food and clothing and baby blankets and such to Tecate in order to help the people who were known to the church there. We threw a big Christmas party (hotdogs) and handed out gifts all day to thousands of people. We didn’t want the guys at the border confiscating all of the stuff, which tends to happen a lot, thus the story meeting.

I was there because my friend really wanted to go, and wanted me to go with her. He was there because he was on his way to India for a year to do mission type stuff, and he had spent a summer or two living with the people down there and building things for them, he wanted to say goodbye before leaving.

I borrowed his keychain scissors to cover the tables with paper. (Now I carry them in my purse, I needed to borrow them so often he finally gave them to me and got himself another one.) I noticed his very cool tattoo, which he designed himself, and we talked briefly about the difference between Pictish and Celtic art. And still we failed to notice each other, though I do remember thinking I really liked his smile.

Then came a very boring bit, for me anyway, where all of the diverse church groups in attendance had a “sharing time” before we began the main event. I stayed at the back and played with two little Mexican girls who were trying to peel my long, and clean, fingernails off so they could get a better look at them. Towards the end of this thing, the Genius Husband’s father, at that time pastor of one of the churches, gave a mini talk and ended with asking people to pray for his son who was on his way to India where a month before or something a Christian missionary and son had been killed in a car bomb. I thought, “Sure, they always pray for the pastor’s kid.” as a bunch of people gathered around him.

I have these moments sometimes when I’m looking at someone, often when I’m praying, when I see something I never saw before. It’s almost like there is a membrane that is pulled aside for the briefest of seconds and I can really see them for the first time, like all pretenses and judgments are put aside and I can see the person inside. I never know when this is going to happen, but it’s always significant for me or the person I’m talking to. So I wasn’t surprised when right at that moment I looked at this “pastor’s kid” and actually saw him for the first time. It was so strong that it was three days before I was able to connect him with the guy I had had the two prior conversations with. In my mind they were different people. All I remember from that moment was thinking that he had the most beautiful heart I had ever seen. There was something so very sincere and faithful about what I saw in that moment, that I desperately wanted to talk to him just once in order to see it again. Maybe that's when I started to love him, though I'm not sure.

Friends and well wishers were all around him, and it was a very busy day. I watched from a distance, and gave up on the idea of talking to him before the evening was over. I served hotdogs, passed out blankets and hygiene items to girls that looked old enough to need them, helped clean up, ate the BEST homemade tortillas ever for dinner, with homemade salsa as well, and then I was sent to pass out oranges for dessert. There he was talking to someone as I walked up and offered oranges. And then stayed, and stayed, and talked, the other person left soon after, and we kept talking. He told me later that about 20 minutes into that conversation, it was as though time stood still for a second, and he knew that he was going to marry me. He described it as feeling like part of himself was looking back at him as we talked, and then quoted Milton, which was the way to my nerdy English lit. heart.

At the end of that conversation I had an invitation to go hiking in the desert with him before he left. I accepted and asked if my friends could come. (Hello, guy I just met, alone in the middle of nowhere, PK or not, I’m not an idiot. We danced to that song at our wedding too; Son of a Preacher Man.) What I didn’t count on was my dear friend who happened to observe our conversation that night, the lovely and talented Journey Mama, whom you should all go and read. At that time she was 18 and so sweet and innocent and she connived, connived I tell you in order to make sure that I was in that desert alone with him no matter what. She knew that something special was happening, even if I wasn’t as certain yet. She told everyone to cancel on me at the last minute. By this time I had agreed to camp and then hiking, thinking that there would be a largish group of us. And then it was just me, and I desperately wanted to go, so I sought out my dear conniving friend and asked her advice. She encouraged me to go anyway, hah, she had planned it that way. No two people ever had a more subtle and perceptive matchmaker.

I was so nervous waiting for him to pick me up, I second-guessed the whole thing, I told myself I was being reckless and stupid, and then he showed up. From that moment on it felt as though I have known him my entire life. I have never felt so completely at ease around someone as I do around him. Talking to him was like talking to myself, in a good way. That night and day we felt like old friends, like we had finally found that friend we had always wanted. It wasn’t romantic yet, but it was intense.

We walked on the beach after he took me home. We finally hugged and he told me he loved me, and held my hand as we walked back. I said goodbye, and gave him my email address, and he flew to India two days later, for a year. I didn’t know if I would ever see him again.

Stay tuned for the next installment where I tell you about how I made the second or third actual decision of my life, which led to me marrying him, and the life I have now.



If you don't have a paper shredder, and you have a large amount of documents that you have just culled from your files and need to shred before discarding, try giving them to your 4-year-old, along with a pair of scissors, and telling your 2-year-old that she may tear them to ribbons if she would like to join the fun.

The result is a floor covered in itty bitty pieces of paper, in squares, triangles, circles, etc. several little "notes" on your desk from your son, and two or three hours of quiet while they are vastly entertained by this new enterprise.

They even helped put it all in the trash when it was done.

Operation Shredder accomplished.


One small step for a boy…a giant leap for womankind.

I’m teaching my son to clean the toilet. Last week I taught him to wipe the rim, underneath the seat, and the entire outside of the bowl. This week he will also be introduced to the wonders of the toilet brush. This will be his job from now on, until there is another boy to train. While we were in the middle of this lesson he asked, “Why are you teaching me this mom?”

I responded, in complete seriousness, “Because it’s something every boy should know.”

Come on, you know it’s true. Who makes the mess in the toilet, and on the floor around it, and the wall behind it, and… You get my drift. So why is it always girls and women who clean up the stinky mess. I decided that the job of cleaning the toilet would always fall to my sons if I had any. I started this train of thought while observing my father, who was raised by a meticulously tidy woman. My grandmother had 11 children, and a clean house, in the days when you did the laundry by hand and grew your own food, and made your own clothes, bread, jam, butter, etc.

My father is meticulously tidy; he couldn’t understand why it was so hard for my mother to keep the house clean. (Part of the answer, she picked up her babies when they cried, but that’s another discussion altogether.) After my parents separated my father’s house was, predictably, tidy. However upon walking into his bathroom I was shocked to discover that the man had no idea how to clean a toilet, sink or bathtub. White porcelain is not supposed to look like it’s been encrusted with mysterious pink and brown goo that has hardened into an almost extra layer of finish. I wondered how a man so concerned with cleanliness could have allowed this to happen, and realized that although his mother had taught him to clean up after himself, she had never taught him to clean the bathroom, or several other things that he should be able to do. She had assumed his wife would do that for him; an assumption that my mother didn’t share.

Years later, when I was visiting my soon to be in-laws, they were getting ready for a big party or something and the girls were sent to clean the bathroom, and try and get rid of the smell of pee that surrounded the toilet from the presence of 6 boys. I thought, “Well that’s not fair.”

I am convinced that men can learn to actually clean if they are not allowed to hide behind their cultural mask of ignorance and ineptness, and taught how to see what needs to be done. Woman may see it more easily, but is that because we’re women, or because we were taught to? If I wiped a counter and it wasn’t done right, I was sent back to do it again, until I learned to do it right the first time. So far learning to clean has been exactly the same for my son. I have to tell him how to look at it, send him back to the same spot over and over again until there is nothing left there that isn’t supposed to be, and require him to decide if its garbage, or needs to be put away. But you should see him clean his room now. He does a really good job. Today he even moved his little furniture out of the way to vacuum behind it. (I haven’t really taught him how to vacuum yet so I had to finish, but I was so proud of him for noticing that detail and doing it.)

I decided that day at my future MIL’s house that in my house it would be the boys that are made responsible for the function of their own penises, and so far it is working. We started a year ago with me making him wipe up his own puddles if he missed the toilet. He knows where the rags are; he knows which sprayer to use. (I use vinegar and water so it’s safe for him and the rest of us.) I hoped that if he had to clean up every time he missed that he would become more aware of where he was aiming. It worked, he rarely misses and when he does, he can clean it up by himself. The toilet is just the next step.

Best part? My bathroom is always clean now and I didn't have to do it.

And all he women of the world rejoiced.

Drink the Vodka, PLEASE!

For the past two nights I’ve been trying to get my two year old to drink Vodka, so far no luck. She’s in the final stages of teething; her very back molars are coming in on the bottom, and maybe the top one as well. So that’s at least two at once. She wakes up crying, and sleepy, and in pain, and I want to help.

I am grossly under prepared for a teething emergency, I have no children’s Tylenol, I have none of my surefire homeopathic remedy, but I do have good quality Vodka. We have used such remedies before around here, in a dropper for the little tiny people, because its actually cleaner and has fewer chemicals than in Tylenol in terms of what goes into their little bodies, Tylenol has worked but in the end it seems that a pure distilled alcohol, in little doses, works better. They go to sleep, and they stop feeling the wrath of the tiny teeth finally breaking free.

So when she woke up two nights ago, inconsolable and in pain, I tried the regular ways of soothing her back to sleep. I sang, I rubbed her back, I held her. She continued screaming. I mentally kicked myself for not having any Chamomila on hand, because I really do prefer the homeopathic remedy to the distilled one, but I don’t have any in the cupboard and the child she is screaming.

I told her I was going to get her a drink to try and help her feel better, and emerged form the bedroom, making a beeline for the liquor cabinet. (Okay, our liquor cabinet is actually the really high cupboard above the fridge that its impossible for a four year old to climb into. That’s where the really good dark chocolate lives also.) The Genius Husband picked up on my train of thought immediately, and asked, “What are you going to give her?”

I haven’t had a grown-up drink in several months and am therefore unfamiliar with the non-chocolate side of the cupboard.

“I don’t know,” I respond, “What do we have?”

This is all to the accompaniment of wails and screams drifting out of the bedroom.

His immediate response, “Use the Vodka, it’s the cleanest, and it’s already cold.”

We take it from the freezer, pour a tiny bit into a glass and I take it to the bedroom as he follows me explaining, “I want to watch.”

After all, it isn’t every day that your baby girl takes a hit of Vodka straight for the very first time.

We hand her the glass and she immediately screams, “NO, I DON”T WANT A DRINK,“ and continues the screaming. We coax, we cajole, but she is having none of this “Drink that will help her to feel better and go to sleep” nonsense. Finally, I resort to the trick that has almost always worked once they can understand words. I give them “the choice”.

“Mommy and daddy are trying to help you, we don’t want you to have owwies, this drink will help them to feel better and help you to go back to sleep. Would you like to drink it, and let us help you, or are you going to stop crying now and go back to sleep without it.”

I seriously thought she was going to pick the drink, I would. Instead she sniffs, “NO, I don’t want you to help me.”

Then she stops crying, rolls over on her bed, and goes back to sleep within a couple of minutes. I’m not worried about peer pressure with this child, no way; she knows what she wants and has the will to back it up.

I forgot all about it today, didn’t even think of getting Chamomila in case it happened again, until 11:30pm when the screaming started again. This time I tried putting it in juice, mango juice. She said she would drink it in juice, but as soon as the cup was in her hand she refused to drink it, and lay down and went to sleep again. This time she woke up again 10 minutes later screaming for water, but no juice. It may be a long night.



She’s standing on a stool in the bathroom right now, talking to herself in the mirror. Cradling the tube of toothpaste in her hand she tells her image that she has to be very careful with it, she can’t break it. This is her toy that she “paid at the store”. She is very serious and intent in this instruction.

Just as I walk by to see what she is doing she hands it to herself in the mirror and says, “Here you go. It’s for you.”

She talks on the pretend phone to people, and if I didn’t know she was pretending, I’d swear someone on the other end is responding to her. The one-sided conversation sounds so realistic.

The pretend part of having kids is super fun.



The great home schooling adventure has begun for us. The Boy will be 5 in October and I’ve realized that it’s time to dedicate a large chunk of our morning to activities that promote learning specifically, and set a few educational goals for him. Oh and it’s time to say goodbye to a show, by this I mean feature length, every single morning while mommy takes a pregnant nap, sits and cries, showers, take your pick. So far it’s going well. I remembered how much I love teaching. I have always been aware that I am just a teacher by nature. I don’t just teach. I am a teacher. Making the decision to home school was easy; even if it wasn’t one of those pivotal childrearing discussions we had before we were engaged. (The Genius Husband was home schooled, as were all his siblings, which I truly believe has contributed to his genius because he had the freedom to think and develop his brain along it’s truly unique lines. You may think I’m kidding about the genius label but I’m not, the guy is smart, scary smart. He asks questions it wouldn’t even occur to others to wonder about, and it takes him places and to conclusions that ore completely original, and logical, and well, his profs think he’s really cool.)

The home school or not home school conversation began with him saying, “MY children will be home schooled.”

The feminist in me felt a little rebellious at this statement and protested, “What if I don’t want to stay home and teach children forever, what if I want a career, I can’t do that and home school full time.”

He responded, “Okay, then you can have a career and I’ll stay home and teach our kids, but my children will be home schooled.” He’s a chronic teacher too.

I instantly felt this twinge and responded, “What, and let you have all the fun?”

And the matter was settled, so I’ve been preparing for this day a long time. We’ve been into it one whole week, and I love it, and so do the kids. We’re working on foundational things, recognizing and drawing letters and knowing their sounds. Writing numerals, counting to twenty, learning all the relationships in the tens. We’re going to make a family tree for history, and learn Spanish together, so we can talk to the neighbors. (Except that little 4-year-old kid who is a kleptomaniac and uses the f word frequently in his English conversation. I don’t really want my boy learning anything from him, even if I do feel sorry for him.) We’ve already been working on understanding the basics of scientific method, that’s been my solution to the four-year-old know it all complex. Wherever possible I’ve tried to help him test his “theory” to find out if it’s true or not. (Do little bananas really taste completely different from big bananas as you insist? Lets cut them up and put them on a plate and see if you can taste the difference.) So we will continue with that as well as reading our way through science books until I’m delirious and exhausted and just want a nap, not to read the Sun, Moon and Planets again! Seriously, these books are 20 to 30 pages long, with a lot of text, he should have a shorter attention span don’t you think? His new favorite is my first year astronomy text from university. He wants every picture and diagram explained.

The most fun for me is that I get to teach him music, which was my major. A friend is moving and I am inheriting her piano as soon as the Genius Husband and crew can move it here, so I will be able to teach my kids to play, and get to play myself again, finally. It’s been two years since we bid our beloved piano farewell, and I’ve been pining ever since. I have dreams of starting to teach again even, (for money that is.) So far we have listened to several different styles and I’ve asked him to tell me what he likes about it, or doesn’t like, what instruments he hears, can he clap to it, walk to it, can we count to 4, 2, 3? It’s been fun, and he asked me why we didn’t do school that day. That’s the goal man; make learning this stuff enjoyable.

Rosh Hoshanna is this Friday, so we will also be in the thick of the autumn feasts; which we started celebrating last year, and I was so excited by how instructive and purposeful ritual and celebration can be in the instruction of my kids. My Jewish Milly is very excited by this development, so I have lots of help there but we have to go through and explain many things in the coming week.

I’m sorry if this is boring for some of you. I’m really excited, and surprised by what a joy it is to spent time with my children sharing one of my greatest passions with them, and to have it as part of the routine so I don’t feel pulled away by the hundreds of other things I need to do. So I need to go and prepare for the coming week. Happy Monday to all of you.



I may not have mentioned it before, but the Genius Husband is a phenomenal cook. People used to pay him to go to their houses and cook for their dinner parties, he’s that good. I was already in love with him when I discovered this quality, as the first meal he ever gave me was desert camping food, which consisted mainly of toasted soy nuts and Gingeroos from Trader Joes. (Still the best soft ginger cookies on the planet by the way.) We also had tea, and I was thinking, uh, I thought this dude said he would supply the food, what the heck is this. No matter how good for you soy nuts are, I was thinking something a little more substantial, but then, I’d never hiked in the desert before. Turns out he was right about what heat does to appetite.

After that he took me out for food a lot when we got around to dating, but I was already engaged to him before he cooked for me.

Now, I haven’t ever considered myself a slouch in the kitchen. I’m quite comfortable improvising recipes from scratch, I bake invent and experiment and my food usually tastes good. My mom is after all a caterer among other things, and though I may not have inherited her talent for effortlessly making food pretty as my sister did, I at least learned to make it tasty. Compared to him I’m like a three year old. He started out perfecting Northern Italian cuisine. The first thing he ever made for me was homemade tomato sauce, sweet and spicy, with deep fried scallops dredged in curry and flower thrown in at the last minute over top of linguini. The salad was this completely boring looking mass of green but when you put it in your mouth you discover basil and mint and lime and peppers and it almost melts in your mouth it’s so succulent.

Then he went to South-East Asia. Now flavors from India, and Thailand and Indonesia have taken over our kitchen, and wow, that tastes good. The problem that he has is that he will invent these brilliant dishes that everyone remembers for years, and he won’t remember making them, or how he did it. Enter me, the wonder wife, who often cleans the kitchen after every single pot, pan, counter space and cutting board has been dirtied. That is the price of genius I suppose, though he has improved tremendously since I started complaining. However the main function I serve is as walking database containing all of the ingredients and steps for past culinary triumphs, and reproducing them once he’s forgotten. Most of my favorite recipes are things he invented and I made him teach me so they wouldn’t be lost, though I have had a brilliant moment from time to time myself.

My favorite thing about Thai food is the way it tastes so fresh, I love the way they use fresh basil and mint and cilantro, the lime leaves and the peanuts, lemon grass and curry. It’s an adventure in my mouth unlike any other. I have gotten very good at following recipes for Thai food, most of which involve exotic ingredients that need to be purchased in Asian markets and taste amazing when finished. Recently though, I have been experimenting with creating Thai flavors, without recipes, out of what I can get nearby. The GH can already do this. The fact that half of the extended family here spent the summer there may have something to do with that. I am not all that great yet but I’m improving. Last night I attempted chicken, it tasted okay, the kids ate it all. The Genius Husband didn’t eat until later, and when he heated it up, he as usual rummaged in cupboards and added things as it occurred to him, and then I tasted it, and it was amazing.

So, as I planned dinner this evening, I couldn’t get that chicken out of my head and decided to try it. So I called the GH at work. Don’t tell me that you don’t think it’s funny that I call my husband hard at work on a construction site to ask him for his recipe for Red curry and basil Thai chicken, because it is funny.

Long story short, I followed directions, and we have a new favorite. What’s brilliant about this one is that the ingredients can be found at Vons, and it’s easy to make. So without further ado, I decided to share this recipe with you.

2lbs Chicken Thighs cut into cubes

juice of one lime

1/2-1 tsp Thai Kitchen Red Curry

1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

Combine in a large ziplock bag and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes

Discard marinade

In cast iron skillet brown chicken on medium high to high heat. You'll need a bit of oil to start with something that doesn't burn at high temperatures.

Once it’s brown and getting a bit crispy, deglaze with some soy sauce.

Add about 1 tsp, more if you like it really spicy, of chili garlic paste, (Also known as Sambal Oleak) and found in a clear plastic jar with a green lid in the Asian section. For some reason it’s made in Vietnam and the jar is in mostly Vietnamese.

At the same time add at least a cup of chopped fresh basil leaves.

Saute for one or two minutes and serve over fresh made jasmine rice.

If you want to add a bit of northern Thailand too it, add some oil to the still hot pan and fry some eggs. Put them in a hot bowl of rice while the yolk is still a bit runny and eat together with the chicken.

Really try it, you’ll thank me.



So yesterday I was talking to a friend I have been out of contact with for a long time. She asked the dreaded question. “You don’t sound like you’re doing that great right now, are you sure you’re okay?” I have been fooling everyone close to me, I think, but an old friend thousands of miles away can hear over the phone lines that I’m not fine.

I immediately produced the dreaded response, which was to start sobbing into the phone, so hard I couldn’t talk. She did what good friends do, she listened, and she built me up and reminded me that I am loved and of who I am. She told me for the first time what she thought when she first met me, and why it was that she introduced herself, why she liked me and wanted to be my friend. I needed to hear that so very badly. She made me laugh when I was finished crying and I needed that too.

She also confirmed something that I had started to think to myself last night. I am strong, Dammit. Look what I manage to do while I feel like shit. I’m still taking care of two small children, making meals for my family daily. I packed, moved, and unpacked an apartment full of stuff this month, I get the dishes done and the floors vacuumed, I keep going even when all I want to do is lay down and cry and fall apart, even when that’s what I do whenever I have time to sit still long enough to think, without something pressing demanding my attention. That is the opposite of wussy or weak. Despite what I am feeling, what I do is telling me that I am not weak at all. Only someone with some measure of strength could keep going when it gets as hard as it has been, and get through.

That doesn’t mean I’m better. Thanks to my friend I feel heard, and less alone. But the things that plague me have not gone away, they aren’t resolved, they remain as hard as ever. And I don’t know how long I can keep this up, but I do know that for today I have enough to keep going, and though I don’t exactly feel thankful, I am at least glad that I haven’t reached the end yet.


I’m Fine

If you were to ask me right now how I am I’d probably say “I’m fine.”

Today I’m fine means I’ve felt like shit for months and I don’t know when I’ll feel better, but I’m certain you don’t want to hear about it.

I’m fine means that I’m afraid of someone who genuinely cares asking because I don’t want to break down crying in front of you because I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop until I told you everything, embarrassing both of us.

I’m fine means I don’t feel like anyone loves me or cares about me and I feel lonely, and abandoned by the people closest to me.

I’m fine means I’m afraid of appearing weak because I don’t feel like you or anyone else will love me or accept me if you knew how frail I really am, and what a slim thread I am clenching in order to stay functional.

I’m fine means I’m trying to be strong even though I know I’m not.

I’m fine means, “Please someone help me before I fall apart because I don’t even feel able to ask for help and I’m going down fast.”

I’m fine means I’m good at hiding my pain and you will never know unless you get uncomfortably close because I’m afraid that you too will hurt me if you know.

I’m fine.

Is this depression?


Ode to Lego

Oh Lego how I love thee
Thou dost keep my children quiet for hours at a time.

I do not mind thy presence underfoot,
Unless I step on thee directly,
Then do I curse both profound and profane,
And threaten to vacuum up thy scattered remains.

This though is nothing to
the sheer bliss of quiet,
As the short people silently create
from thy many colored splendor.

Wonderful things emerge from the bedroom
Airships, dragons, boats, and penguins.
All presented with shining eyes,
Demanding examination and approval.

I rejoice in the skills
unfolding before me.
Motor control, engineering,
The joy of handmade toys.


They both want the same Lego Guy.
The black clad one will not do,
For it is the green shirt who hath gained the greater glory

They scream and shriek
A sound most shrill,
And beat each the other upon furrowed brows.

Then does my peace become fleeting,
And my voice rises in annoyance.

But since, oh Lego,
You last much longer than any other toy
Before the shrillness ensues.

I will not yet consign thy wonderful variety
To the dark reaches of yon chasm
Whose open maw and reeking receptacle
Has been the death of many other toys.


So I have a post that I wrote while offline, that I wanted to put here. For some unknown and frustrating reason the modem and my computer are not speaking to each other right now. Perhaps the modem was jealous at the computer's brief experiment with that whore of a wireless connection which isn't even password protected and won't take him back without a sincere apology for straying.

Anyway, I am borrowing the Genius Husband's laptop, which is frustrating all by itself because it has none of my settings. Now it won't even let me copy and paste a word file into this little blogspot page so that you can all enjoy my brilliance, or kill time while waiting for something better to come along. AAARRRGGGHHH.

It's late, I'm going to bed. I promise to try again tomorrow, when I'm exhausted because once again I am up way to late.
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